the 2013 Andrew Gemant Lecture
Although the sky is half of our environment and light is what activates sight, in this era both are taken for granted. The ancients, however, engaged the sky and manipulated its light, from prehistoric Ireland’s Newgrange to Abu Simbel in upper Egypt, on the equinox at Chichén Itzá in Yucatán and at winter solstice at Chankillo in Peru. Through monumental, theatrical, and visually powerful experiences, these places connected people with the cosmos and extracted meaning from space and time.
The monumental and theatrical works of artist James Turrell (a retrospective of which is currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) also anchor audiences with celestial light, but Turrell’s motivation is different. Astronomer and Griffith Observatory Director Dr. E.C. Krupp has studied ancient, prehistoric, and traditional astronomy for 40 years and has personally examined nearly two thousand ancient sites. In this program, he explores parallels with antiquity and engagements with perception in Turrell’s installations, particularly at Roden Crater in Arizona and Cenote Agua de Luz in Mexico.
Griffith Observatory is honored for this presentation to serve as the 2013 Andrew Gemant Lecture. Earlier in the day, Dr. Krupp will be presented with the 2013 Andrew Gemant Award by an officer of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) in front of the Los Angeles City Council. The AIP selected Dr. Krupp for its prestigious annual award because of his "significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimension of physics."
The lecture is free and open to the public.